Anyone interested in geology or paleontology can find petrified wood in Ohio, which can be a fun and exciting experience. Because the state has a long geological history, many interesting things await discovery!
Petrification is the process by which minerals replace the organic parts of a piece of wood over millions of years. This can lead to some wonderful works of natural art.
The stone keeps the intricate details of the wood grain, making you feel like you’re holding a piece of history.
There’s a good chance you’ll find some amazing things when you explore riverbeds, floodplains, and other places that were once water sources. With patience and a keen eye, you’ll be unearthing some fantastic pieces of petrified wood in no time!
What Is Ohio Petrified Wood
Petrified wood is a unique type of fossilized material where all the organic components of the original wood have been replaced by minerals, often silicates like quartz, while retaining the actual structure of the wood.
With its rich geologic past, Ohio offers a tapestry of locations where petrified wood can be found. Areas near ancient riverbeds and floodplains are especially likely to contain petrified wood.
Although Ohio isn’t as renowned for its petrified wood as some other states, its varied landscapes and geological features ensure that enthusiasts have a good chance of unearthing these beautiful natural relics.
Once you’ve been everywhere in the state, you can look at our detailed guide to see where you can find petrified wood near you. We are going to keep adding more information about each state.
The types of petrified wood found in Ohio
There are many different kinds of petrified wood in Ohio. Here are some examples of wood that has been petrified in the state.
Agatized petrified wood is a type of petrified wood in which the original organic materials of the wood have been replaced by agate, a kind of chalcedony, a microcrystalline variety of quartz.
In this case, the change from wood to stone makes a beautiful combination of the structure of the original wood and the bright, often translucent colors and agate patterns.
Agatized petrified wood is highly sought after by collectors and artists because of how beautiful and detailed it is. This petrified wood can be cut and polished to bring out its natural patterns, making it perfect for jewelry, decorations, and display pieces.
Opalized petrified wood is a special kind in which the organic parts of the wood have been replaced by opal, a hydrated, amorphous form of silica.
This replacement process gives the fossilized wood a unique and often beautiful look since opal can show many colors in beautiful patterns.
Before wood can turn into stone, it must be quickly covered by sediment or volcanic ash. This fast burial protects the wood from decay and the work of decomposers, keeping it in good shape for petrification.
Opal is not made up of regular crystals like quartz is. Instead, it comprises tiny silica spheres in a matrix, with water filling the spaces between them. When these spheres are a specific size and arranged in a certain way, they can bend light and make the play-of-color effect typical of opal.
Silicified petrified wood has gone through permineralization, in which the organic parts of the original wood are replaced by silica, usually in the form of quartz. This process keeps the actual structure of the wood, sometimes down to the last detail, but turns it into stone.
As time passes, dissolved silica-rich groundwater seeps into the buried wood, which often comes from the breakdown of volcanic ash or other rocks high in silicates.
Silica that has been dissolved starts to form crystals inside the wood, which fills the spaces between the cells and eventually replaces the organic cell walls. This takes a long time, sometimes millions of years.
The result is a rock that maintains the appearance of wood, often down to minute details but is entirely composed of silica.
The tools every petrified wood hunter will need
When you're out looking for petrified wood having the right tools for the job is really going to make or break your success. You don't need a lot for most trips but there are a handful that are critical and will make your life a lot easier.
We get asked a lot about the equipment we use. Over the years we've found a handful of tools that we recommend to both new and experienced petrified wood hunters which we outline in great detail in our complete rockhounding tools and kit guide. These are quality options that also happen to be relatively inexpensive.
Below are the basic tools that make your life so much easier and save you a ton of time. Check out the full guide to see everything we recommend bringing. One quick note, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases but we try very hard to only recommend gear we would use ourselves and often recommend brands you can't find on Amazon.
At a minimum you should have:
1 - Sturdy rock hammer: The Estwing Rock Pick is our standard
2 - Rugged chisels: Try Kendo' 3-piece Chisel Set
3 - Compact shovel: The Koleiya 28-inch shovel works well
4 - Rock screen pan: The Wazakura Soil Sieve Set fits the bill
5 - Eye protection: DeWalt Safety Glasses are cheap and comfortable
6 - Head protection: Malta's Safety Helmet has been our go-to
7 - Jewelers lens with at least 20x magnification: Jarlink's Jewelers Loop is perfect
The petrified wood-finding books that we use most
There are also a few books that have been extremely helpful in the search for gems. These books have great recommendations and tips:
We provide links to find these tools on Amazon but some can also be found at your local hardware stores. For more recommendations check out the link to our full tool guide above.
The Best Places To Find Petrified Wood In Ohio
Here are the best places to find petrified wood in the state. Although there are many more locations you can go rockhounding in Ohio, you can also try to do it to find more petrified wood.
Captina Creek has cut through many different rock types, revealing layers of Ohio’s ancient history. In terms of geography, it flows through hilly areas and lush valleys that show how erosion has changed the land over thousands of years.
Under its banks are layers of sedimentary rock, which are the remains of old seas and rivers. There are a lot of fossils in these rock formations, including the highly sought-after petrified wood. The creek’s exposed rocks and eroded banks make it a great place to find these old wooden treasures.
Captina Creek is a great place for people with a sharp eye and a little bit of patience to know about Ohio’s early history. Every find along its banks is a link to the paat, making it a must-see for anyone who wants to learn more about the natural wonders of the Buckeye State.
Where we found petrified wood at Captina Creek
The action of the water eroding the banks and bedrock can reveal petrified wood that’s been buried for millions of years. Looking in the gravel and among larger rocks can sometimes yield petrified specimens.
Heavy rainfall can wash out new material from the banks and surrounding areas, bringing hidden treasures to the surface.
Before bringing home all the petrified wood you found in Ohio, make sure you know the state’s recent rules for collecting.
Middle Branch Shade River is an interesting place where geology, geography, and history all come together. This waterway, which is surrounded by rolling hills and green forests, shows how the area was shaped by geological events that happened long ago.
Its path goes through layers of sedimentary rock, which are left over from times when there were big seas and active river systems. Rocky outcrops, sandy shores, and eroded banks give clues about the river’s geological history. Because of these things, it is a good place to look for petrified wood.
Every sand grain, rock, and piece of petrified wood found here is a reminder of the area’s long and interesting history, which makes it a great place to go on an exploratory trip.
Where we found petrified wood at Middle Branch Shade River
Rain can wash materials, like petrified wood, away from the banks and areas upstream. If you search after these things, you might be more likely to find specimens.
Sifting through the gravel and examining larger rocks along the banks of the river can also be fruitful.
One of Ohio’s most famous rivers, the Muskingum, winds through the state’s many different landscapes, showing how geologically and geographically rich the area is. The Muskingum starts where the Walhonding and Tuscarawas rivers meet.
As it flows, it shows Ohio’s ancient sedimentary rock formations, which are reminders of a time when there were seas and dense forests. The river’s landscape is made up of lush valleys, steep bluffs, and large floodplains.
It flows through a large area. Because of this varied landscape and the river’s constant erosion, layers of rock and sediment can be seen. Geologists and curious explorers alike are drawn to the Muskingum River by its natural beauty and the chance to find petrified treasures.
Where we found petrified wood at Muskingum River
Check out the riverbanks, especially where erosion has revealed deeper layers of rock and sediment. There may be petrified wood buried in these places.
On the river’s gravel bars, which are made up of rocks and other debris carried downstream, pieces of petrified wood could be left behind.
Raccoon Creek flows through a variety of landscapes and tells stories about the area’s geological history.
The creek’s source is in the middle of the state, and as it flows through layers of sedimentary rock, it takes you on a magical trip through time, giving you a sense of ancient seas and ancient forests.
The creek’s constant erosion and the geology of the area have revealed treasures from long ago, like the highly sought-after petrified wood. As sediment covered forests in the past, mineral-rich waters began to change, turning organic wood into stone that will last forever.
Where we found petrified wood at the Raccoon Creek
Eroded banks or any exposed rocky outcrops can sometimes reveal petrified wood or other fossils. Look closely at areas where different layers of sediment are visible.
You should also check gravel bars or areas with accumulated stones. These are often repositories for a mix of materials carried downstream, including potential petrified wood fragments.
Sunfish Creek flows gracefully through many different landscapes and serves as a sentinel for the state’s interesting geological stories. The creek starts its journey in the gentle uplands and flows through sedimentary formations.
It’s surrounded by a beautiful mix of rolling hills, green valleys, and sometimes limestone cliffs. This changing landscape, which has been shaped by natural forces over thousands of years, shows off a rich tapestry of rocks and sediments.
A trip to its banks will not only be peaceful, but it will also give you the chance to touch and see pieces of Earth’s rich history.
Where we found petrified wood at Sunfish Creek
Areas where the creek deposits accumulated stones, sediments, and other materials can be promising. Petrified wood fragments could be nestled among the gravels.
Check out any eroded banks or exposed rock along the creek as a starting point. Petrified wood or other interesting fossils can sometimes be found in these places.
Other Great Places To Find Ohio Petrified Wood
After telling you where you can find the best petrified wood in Ohio, we can tell you where else you can find great examples. For ease of use, we put them in order by county.
|Athens||Rock Riffle Run|
|New Concord||North Crooked Creek|
General Areas You Should Try
Ohio is a big state, so we want to make sure your search works. You should pay more attention to the places where petrified wood is often found.
Rivers and riverbanks
Petrified wood collectors have been going to rivers and riverbanks for a long time, and it’s not by chance. These changing places are a big part of how Earth’s natural processes of preserving and revealing itself work.
Over the course of history, many trees that fell or were uprooted ended up near or in riverbeds. Over thousands of years, sediments from the moving water covered these trees and started the process of petrification.
Rivers always change, which adds another layer to the story. As rivers cut through the land, they keep revealing older layers of the Earth’s crust. This power of erosion brings hidden treasures to the surface, like wood that has turned to stone. With their always-changing sediments, riverbanks act as changing galleries for these old artifacts.
Streams and creeks
Streams and creeks, with their gentle flows and intricate paths, are goldmines for collectors on the hunt for petrified wood. These waterways have a knack for uncovering and presenting Earth’s hidden gems.
Even though streams and creeks aren’t as strong as rivers, they can wear away soil and rock to reveal treasures. Their banks can reveal pieces of petrified wood that had been hidden because of seasonal changes and small floods.
The sediment, rocks, and gravel are easy to sort through to find these well-preserved wonders. Because of how beautiful nature is and how easy it is to get to, streams and creeks are great places to look for relics from the past.
Washes and ravines
Washes and ravines, which are shaped by nature in a dynamic way, make a great place for collectors to look for petrified wood. These formations, which were made by water and time, are very important for finding the hidden treasures of the Earth.
These natural channels, which are made when water flows, like when it rains or snow melts, are very good at wearing away layers of the Earth’s surface. As they get deeper and wider, they find things that have been buried, such as pieces of petrified wood.
Because they are temporary, the landscape of a wash or ravine may change after every big water flow, revealing new species. For collectors, the fact that the land is always changing means that there are always new chances to find these old things.
Common Questions About Finding Petrified Wood In Ohio
The following frequently asked questions about petrified wood in Ohio should be addressed.
How old is petrified wood in Ohio?
Most of the petrified wood in Ohio is from the Carboniferous Period, which lasted from about 359 million years ago to 299 million years ago. During this time, the area that is now Ohio was mostly swamps and forests.
When plants and trees in these places died, sediments quickly covered them up. This quick burial stopped the normal decay and made it possible for the bones to turn to stone.
Can you find petrified palm wood in Ohio?
Petrified palm wood is not typically associated with Ohio. The state’s geologic history and the age of its rock formations don’t coincide with the time when palm trees would have been prevalent in the region.
The Best Places To Buy Petrified Wood In Ohio
People don’t always want to spend the whole day outside looking for petrified wood. Sometimes you just want to add something new to your collection or give it to someone as a gift. Here are some rock shops in Ohio where you can buy petrified wood:
- Dysart Woods Park – 61961 Dysart Woods Rd, Belmont, OH 43718
- Fossil Park – 5705 Centennial Rd, Sylvania, OH 43560
- GeoRarities Rock Shop – 2511 Essex Pl, Cincinnati, OH 45206
- Johnson Woods State Nature Preserve – 13240 Fox Lake Rd, Marshallville, OH 44645
- Perry’s Pebbles – 4112 Lisa Ln, Middletown, OH 45042